The state of mental health and healthy lifestyle behaviors in nursing, medicine and health sciences faculty and students at Big 10 Universities with implications for action

Bernadette Mazurek Melnyk, Andreanna Pavan Hsieh, Alai Tan, Kate Sustersic Gawlik, Eileen Danaher Hacker, Denise Ferrell, Vicki Simpson, Charon Burda, Bonnie Hagerty, Linda D. Scott, Jeana M. Holt, Pamela Gampetro, Amany Farag, Steven Glogocheski, Laurie Badzek

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: High rates of mental health conditions and poor healthy lifestyle behaviors are reported in nurses, other clinicians, and health science students but have not been compared across different professions. Purpose: The purpose of this study was threefold: (1) describe rates of mental health problems and healthy lifestyle behaviors across the Big 10 health professional faculty and students, (2) compare the health and healthy lifestyle behaviors of the Big 10 health sciences faculty and students across health sciences' professions, and (3) identify factors predictive of depression, stress, and anxiety. Methods: Faculty and students from eight health science colleges at the Big 10 Universities responded to the study survey, which included: demographics, healthy lifestyle behavior questions, and three valid/reliable mental health scales. Descriptive statistics described the findings and multiple linear regression identified factors associated with mental health conditions. Results: Eight-hundred and sixty-nine faculty and 1087 students responded. Approximately 50% of faculty and students reported 7 h of sleep/night, a third achieved 150 min of physical activity/week; 5.5%–9.9% screened positive for depression; and 11.5%–25.5% had anxiety. Age, sleep, and physical activity were associated with lower depression and anxiety. Conclusions: University leadership must build wellness cultures that make healthy lifestyle behaviors easy to engage in and enhance mental well-being.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1167-1174
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Professional Nursing
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 1 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Nursing(all)

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